Every morning before holidaymakers arrive and each evening after they’ve departed, something unusual is happening on the beaches at Ölüdeniz. Anyone enjoying an early morning or evening stroll will hear, in addition to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the gentle hum of a vacuum cleaner – cleaning the sea.

Cleaning the sea
An imaginative way to clean the sea – with a vacuum cleaner

Turkey’s iconic beaches

The gentle curve of the beach, the calm blue waters of the Lagoon and the dramatic backdrop of Babadağ have all contributed to making Ölüdeniz not only one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations but also an icon for the country’s domestic and international tourism sector.

Ölüdeniz beaches: Turkey's tourist icon
Ölüdeniz beaches: Turkey’s tourism icon

Popular with holidaymakers

Every day during the height of the season between three and seven thousand people swim in the sea at the Ölüdeniz and Belcekız beaches and in an effort maintain its Blue Flag status, the resort’s beach management company has invested in some unusual technology to help keep the beach and turquoise waters clean during the busy summer season.

Worries about pollution

Plastic, flip-flops, and the odd dead fish
Plastic, flip-flops, water melon rinds… and the odd dead fish

This year there has been growing concern for the once pristine beaches in the area since areal photos of pollution ‘slicks’ were posted on social media. In addition, currents, tidal and wave patterns make the shoreline the final destination for waste thrown overboard by passing boats and ships, some far out to sea. This seaborne rubbish, together with the usual detritus left by visitors on the beaches has made the management company conclude that a cleaning solution was urgently needed. They decided to acquire a vacuum cleaner for the sea.

‘Hoovering the sea’ clean

An unusual way to clean the sea
An unusual way to clean the sea

Since its arrival, the operator of the vacuum cleaning boat, Umut Aras, has been removing between 80 to 100 kilos of ‘solid’ waste from the sea every day. He said,

Most of the material we collect from the sea consists of water bottles, plastic bags and plates, watermelon rinds. We also find the occasional flip-flop or dead fish!

The manager of the beaches, Halil Gören, told the press that,

Keeping the beach and sea clean is at the top of our agenda. After all, this is a beach with a Blue Flag. In order to maintain cleanliness and to attract people here, we had to quickly find a way to keep the beach clean. We are hoping to invest in some more professional equipment next year.”

Gören added that the beach is now being cleaned twice every day, at 7am and 10 pm.